Thursday, September 29, 2016


Zach stood up from the high top as I approached it, and pulled my chair out.  I hopped up on it and sat down, and he slightly pushed it back in.

I smiled cautiously.  I was nervous, though I don't know why.  We sat there awkwardly, quietly for a few minutes and then we both spoke at the same time.

"How are you?"
"How's medical school?"

We laughed, and he re-asked how I was.

"I'm doing really well.  I've been extremely busy between work and then still teaching tennis lessons at the racquet club."

"Oh yeah, I forgot you were still at the racquet club.  Have you been playing much?"

"Not as much as I'd like.  I do play in a league weekly, though.  We have matches every Thursday night."

"My parents tell me that your family is doing well, and that Tom has a new girlfriend?"

I laughed.  "Yeah, funny story.  Tom is back at Purdue, however, he does have a new girlfriend.  No more momfriend.  He's dating Victoria.  Funny, right?"

His eyes widened.  "Isn't that weird for you?"

I wrinkled my nose at him. "Kinda.  They're doing the long-distance thing for now since Tommy only has 2 years left at Purdue and then who knows where he'll end up.  Plus, she is finishing up her degree, too, and there's no point in transferring now.  I see her more frequently, though.  My parents invite her to all the family things.  How are your parents?"

"Ben and Gloria are fabulous," he grinned at me.  "They're looking at houses in Arizona and Florida right now."

"What!" I yelped.  "Do my parents know?  I can't believe they won't be their neighbors anymore!"

"Oooh, no no no," he quickly replied.  "For winter homes.  I guess with me back here for the foreseeable future, they have someone to watch the house in the winter."

"Oh.  Ok.  That makes sense."

We both took a moment to finish our drinks.  Then, again, we spoke up at the same time.

This time I repeated myself.  "So, I don't mean this in a bad way, but why did you want to get together?"

"Well, I thought it would be good to catch up."

Just like Zach could read me like a book, I could also read him.  I cocked an eyebrow at him.  "Really?"

He sighed.  "Yes, really.  That, and I do miss you."

"Zach, I'm getting married," I quietly said, looking at my hands.

"I know.  I don't mean like that. I mean, I would mean like that if you were single," and he smiled.  "But you aren't and I'll respect that.  I'd really like to get to know Aaron, if that's okay with you?  I mean, he is marrying my favorite Husker."

I rolled my eyes but blushed.  "I'd really like that.  You've been my friend forever."

He reached across the table and squeezed my hand.  I tried to ignore the feel of his skin against mine.

We spent another half hour or so catching up, and then went our separate ways.

When I got home, Aaron was making dinner.

"Hey, babe!  I didn't know you'd be home already."

He grinned and made his way to me, wrapping an arm around my waist and kissing me quickly on the forehead.  "I missed you.  Where were you?"

I hadn't told Aaron that I was meeting Zach for drinks after work.  "Well, um, I had drinks with a friend after work."  Aleah, what is wrong with you.  Do NOT lie to this man, I internally scolded myself.  "And by friend, I mean Zach."

He raised his eyebrows at me.  "Oh yeah?  And how was that?"

"It was oddly good.  He had asked me to get drinks a couple weeks ago, and we just now were able to make it work.  I wasn't sure what he wanted, but it turns out he has missed our friendship and wants to get to know you.  I'm so sorry I didn't tell you beforehand."  I was rambling.

"Aleah, I am not mad," he laughed.  "I know he was a big part of your life for a long time.  I trust you.  And if he's that good of a guy that you two were together for so long, then I would be more than happy to get to know him."

I sighed a breath of relief.  "Excellent.  I'll try to set something up sometime.  By the way, it smells amazing, what are you making?"

"Shrimp risotto.  There's a glass of wine sitting there for you."

"Thanks!  I'm going to go change, and then I'll be back."  I grabbed the glass of wine off the counter and headed back to the bedroom, more anxious than I probably needed to be about rekindling my friendship with Zach.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

First and Last

*2 Weeks Ago*


It sounded like my name, but I felt stupid turning around if it wasn't.  I kept walking briskly, enjoying the summer heat, but needing to get back to work.  I'd already taken an extended lunch so I could eat and stop in a couple shops.  Aaron and I weren't planning on getting married until next year, but I'd already started perusing bridal shops and created Pinterest boards.  You never know when lightening may strike!

"Aleah!!" I heard, louder.  This time I turned around.  Zach.

He gave me his killer smile.  "I've been calling your name for like a full block now!"

I giggled, embarrassed.  "Sorry.  I was lost in my thoughts."

"It's okay.  I was going to see if you wanted to grab lunch, but I see you already ate," he nodded towards the leftover food box I was carrying.

"Oh yeah, I had grabbed lunch with a friend." I don't know why I felt the need to lie.  "With Aaron."

"How's he doing?"

"Good.  He's been working a lot, going through training for SWAT."

"That's awesome!  Tell him congrats for me."

"Will do."  I lifted my hand to check my watch.  "I really have to get going, I'm..."

Before I could finish, Zach let out a low whistle and grabbed my hand, pulling it closer to his face.

"Aleah, I didn't know," he said softly.  "Congratulations.  He did a good job."  I blushed and looked at his face, but his expression was unreadable. 

"Thank you," I replied, looking down at the ring sparkling on my finger.

"Hey, anyway, I know you need to go, but would you want to get lunch or dinner or a drink sometime soon?"

"Oh, yeah, sure, that'd be great."  I mentally scolded myself for how awkward I now sounded.  "Just, um, text me.  You still have my number?"

"Of course.  I would never lose it."  He smiled at me again, causing me to melt just a little, and he turned to walk away.

~~~~~~~ Current Day ~~~~~~~

I wiped sweat off my forehead with my forearm and sighed.  "This is taking forever," I complained to Sarah.  Since moving in to Aaron's, he had graciously agreed to let me do some painting and upgrading.  I was currently painting the bathroom and Sarah was helping me.  She was much more into home project stuff than I was.

"Stop whining.  I already told you I have a bottle of pink moscato waiting for us as a reward for when we're done."

"Will you two keep living here, now that you guys are getting married?"

"I don't know.  We haven't talked about it. I'd like to get a bigger house, to plan for the future."

"Your kids would be absolutely adorable," she gushed, as a best friend should.

I rolled my eyes.  "That is no where on my radar yet."  She laughed.

"So tell me what happened with Zach."

I told her about seeing him, and how he wanted to get some sort of food.  I told her how awkward I still felt around him and I didn't like how he made me feel, because those feelings made me feel guilty.

"Do you still love him?" she asked, turning her head to watch me.

"I think part of me always will.  We were together a long time.  He was my first love," I finished, quietly, hating to admit that.

"Okay?  But do you want him to be your last?"

And that was the question I wasn't sure how to answer.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

I Choose You

*3 Weeks Ago*

"Let's go for a walk," Aaron suggested.

I internally breathed a sigh of relief.  "Okay."

We were in Chicago visiting Aaron's family.  It was my first time meeting all of his 8,000 sisters.  By 8,000 I mean 4.  But it sure felt like 8,000.

His mom and Rosa were of course welcoming.  His oldest sister Emma, was super warm and sweet.  She embraced me as soon as we walked in the door.  I think if we lived closer we would be super close, shopping and hanging out a lot.  She's 26.  His next sister, Ilianna, is my age (23).  I think she hated me before we were ever born.  His two youngest sisters, Olivia (18) and Uma (16) were teenagers.  Olivia was indifferent to my presence.  She wasn't rude, just uninterested.  And Uma instantly latched on to me.  I think only because she loved my clothing, to be honest.

Aaron glanced at what I was wearing (spandex shorts and oversized tank because we had gone running a little earlier and I hadn't showered yet).  "Actually, why don't you shower first.  We're going to go into Chicago and go for a short walk to get some fresh air, but then we'll go to dinner."

"Oh, okay.  Any requests?" I winked at him.

He grinned.  "Yeah, wear the pink dress."

I rolled my eyes at him and laughed.  "Anything for you."  I knew he really just liked my legs in that dress.

When I was ready, we drove to the train and took it into Chicago.  I had on nude pumps so we took a cab out to the lakefront path.

"Aaron, it's gorgeous out here," I commented, as we were walking along the lake switching between the Chicago skyline and the lake.  Aaron squeezed my hand, and pulled me over to a vacant bench, guiding me to sit.  He sat next to me, his body angled towards me, and grabbed both of my hands.

"Aleah, it is gorgeous out here.  However, there is no skyline, no lake, beach, mountain, or any view on this earth that can outshine your beauty.  Your beauty may be breathtaking, but your inner beauty is even more radiant.  Every day since I've known you, I have tried to be the man you could be proud of, that you would want to be with, that makes you smile.  You make me want to be the best man I could possibly be.  You bring out emotions in me that I've never desired to show anyone else before.  You make my life vibrant.  Aleah, I love you with my whole heart.  It has been my honor to have had you by my side for this long, and I could only hope, dream, and pray that you would be willing to continue to be by my side, for the rest of our lives.  I can't promise you that we won't fight, that we'll always like each other, and that we will always make each other happy.  But I can promise you that I will spend every day of my life giving you, and only you, all of me.  I choose you forever, sweet girl."  He slid off the bench down on to one knee, pulling a ring box from his pocket.  "Aleah, will you continue doing me the honor of letting me love you, for the rest of our lives?"

My hands were covering my mouth.  I had never thought I would be the girl to cry when being proposed to, but yet here I was: tears streaming down my face.  Aaron's eyes were soft and excited.  Expectant and nervous.  But mostly, full of adoration.

I lowered my hands.  "Yes, Aaron.  Yes!  One hundred thousand times yes.  I will choose you over and over every time!"

He took a thumb and wiped my cheek free of tears, then left his hand lingering and gently kissed me.  He picked the ring up from the box and shakily slipped it onto my left ring finger.  He pulled me up by both hands and wrapped his arms around my waist, easily lifting me from the ground, kissing me hard, smiling against my mouth.  When he set me down, we slowly remembered it wasn't just us in the world, and we heard people aww'ing and clapping.  He leaned down and kissed me again, linked fingers with mine and started leading me back from where we had come.

Then, as if he hadn't already won my heart, he secured it by taking me to Geja's CafĂ©: fondue.  A lot of people think fondue is cheesy (lol, pun intended) but I love it.  Because, food.

Once we were done eating, we Facetimed my parents, who apparently had been waiting for our call.  He knew I was old-fashioned and would've wanted him to ask my dad's blessing, which he did.

My mom cried.  My dad promised a celebratory dinner and drinks when we were back in Nebraska.

When we finally got back to his mom's house, it was dark outside.  When we walked in, they were all still up and waiting.  Apparently everyone knew what was going to happen.  There was champagne already poured in glasses.  There were congratulations all around.  Well, from everyone but Ilianna.  No surprise there.  She was present, but definitely not congratulatory.  Girl doesn't even know me.  *Sigh*

Anyhow, once we finally were settled into the room we were staying in, we collapsed into bed.  Aaron leaned his body over onto mine and gently kissed along my jaw line.  "I love you Aleah," he whispered between kisses.  "I really have no words for how happy I am."  More kisses.  "Today has, by far, been the second best day of my life."  He gently nibbled my ear.  "Only second to the day you agreed to go on a date with me, because without that day, this day wouldn't have been possible."

His lips made contact with mine, and we made out like it was the first time.  We had agreed to nothing heavy while in his mom's home.  We had one more night out here before we left.  Aaron had already told me he booked us a hotel in Chicago.  Originally, I thought it was because it would be closer since we were flying out O'Hare.

Now, I knew it was so we could have a whole night to ourselves in celebration.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

New blog

Hey all!

I'm starting another blog in addition to this one.  I needed a different story line to keep my creative juices flowing, so to speak.  I can't take Aleah to the place I want this new blog to go, so I guess the benefit for you is you'll have 2 blogs of mine to read.

I don't/won't have a posting schedule right away because I want to gauge the story, where I want it to go, and get feedback from you all.

It's a little taboo and definitely different than my current one.  I have the first 2 posts written.  Bear with me as they are a little slower and building the story up.

Give me yours thoughts on it!


Thursday, September 1, 2016


"I don't know where I'd be without you in my life," he smiled up at me.

I clapped my hands over my mouth.  He was now down on one knee.  My smile was radiating out from beyond my hands.  I'd been waiting for this moment for what felt like forever.

"Aleah, you're my best friend and my love.  You're the first thing I think about when I wake up, and definitely the last thing I'm dreaming about as I drift off to sleep.  There is no one else I'd rather have by my side for the rest of my life."  He was returning my smile, his eyes hopeful and glistening. 

He pulled out a box from the inside of his blazer with the familiar blue ribbon on it.  He opened up the box, the diamond bouncing off the street lamps that were over the river walkway we were on.  His hand, and the box, were slightly quivering.  He was so nervous. 

I went to open my mouth and nothing came out.  I went to look at the ring again and it was blurry, its picture fading out.

I furrowed my brows and looked back into his eyes.  "Something isn't right," I could hear myself saying.

"Aleah, what's wrong?"

"Zach..." I trailed off.  The edges started fading into blackness.  Soon, all I could see was Zach's earnest, yet concerned face

"Aleah!  Aleah?"  Then all I could make out was him mouthing my name, and I couldn't hear him.

Then.. "Aleah!"

I jerked awake.  Aaron was slightly shaking me.  I was drenched in sweat, my hands still over my mouth.  "Aleah, are you okay?"

I nodded my head, as I didn't trust myself to speak yet. 

Aaron touched his hand to my cheek, turning my face to his.  "Are you okay?  You were mumbling in your sleep... and..." he didn't finish.

He wiped my cheek, and I realized I had been crying.  He didn't say what we were both thinking: this was the third time this week I'd woken up crying.

"I'm sorry," I whispered.

He kissed my forehead.  "Don't be. I'm so sorry you've been having nightmares."

I cringed hearing the lie I'd told him coming out of his mouth. 

"Come here," he murmured, wrapping an arm under and around me, pulling me to him. 

I curled up against him, resting my hand on his chest.  I sighed, relaxing against his warmth and strength. 

I cracked open my eyes and the faint glow of the sunrise peeking in the window reflected off the sparkling diamond on my left hand, reminding me of the dream I'd had for the third time this week, and I tensed against Aaron's loving embrace.